BootitBM, Ubuntu 14.04 Server, VMWorkstation install problem

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BootitBM, Ubuntu 14.04 Server, VMWorkstation install problem

Postby gpsmikey » Sat Mar 12, 2016 1:41 pm

Greetings - I have been trying to get Ubuntu 14.04 Server to install in a VM environment (VMWorkstation 10) after installing BootitBM 1.32 (the latest one). I have followed as carefully as possible the instructions in KB 279 "Linux Installation Notes: Ubuntu", installing BootitBM first from the ISO, then using it to create the partitions (30GB EXT4 for / and 2GB for SWAP). The install seems to go correctly (including where I have to "goback" in the network configuration to set the new system with a static IP). During partitioning, it does find the partitions I created and I can assign the EXT4 to root (/) which seems to go correctly and it makes it all the way to where it wants to install GRUB. That is where the problem occurs - the grub installer gives me the message that [i] "It seems that this new installation is the only operating system on this computer. If so, it should be safe to install the GRUB boot loader to the master boot record of your first drive.... Install the GRUB boot loader to the master boot record?"[/i] with the option of "go back", "yes" or "no". If I select "no", then it fails (although a couple of times I managed to get to where it would let me specify a partition - but that failed to install). The partitions on the disk were created as 3 primary partitions (limiting was enabled) - first was 8 meg for BootitBM (which works fine), second was 30GB as EXT4 (per KB 279) and the third was 2GB as swap (per KB 279). I was careful to make sure I completed steps 4,5 and 6. I have repeated this a number of times trying minor variations. I have seen the note about issues if there is a blank primary partition in front of where you are installing GRUB but that should not be an issue - I let Bootit BM pick it's install location on a "blank" disk and install, then used it to create the EXT4 and swap partitions immediately following the 8 meg Bootit BM partition.

[b]A couple of things that are interesting and may be part of the issue:[/b]
1) there is NO other OS installed so the GRUB installer is correct on that issue (but I want to keep BootitBM)
2) If I let Ubuntu have the whole disk and do it it's way, I find it creates a primary partition of 550mb EXT2 as /boot then puts the root (/) and SWAP in an extended partition and everybody seems happy (except BootitBM is gone now)
3) The server install is a bit different from the desktop install, but very close.
4) I find it interesting the the Ubuntu install if you let it do it it's way creates a separate /boot partition that is EXT2 (in KB 279, you indicate you only need "a root partition and a swap partition at a minimum" (#3 under "recommended installation steps for Bootit BM users")

Googling around has turned up a number of issues around GRUB, but nothing that sounds like just what I am running into. Any assistance would be much appreciated !!

mikey
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Re: BootitBM, Ubuntu 14.04 Server, VMWorkstation install pro

Postby gpsmikey » Sat Mar 12, 2016 4:06 pm

Hah - I seem to have solved it (well at least made it work twice in a row :twisted: ). From another comment in one of the Ubuntu forums on GRUB issues as well as what the install did if I let it have it's way with the whole disk (overwriting Bootit), the answer is you need to create 3 partitions in addition to where Bootit is installed. You create a /boot partition (Linux 131/83h), /root (131/83h) and a swap partition (130/82h). Now when you get near the end and the GRUB installer wants to install in the MBR, you select "NO" then point it at the /boot partition (/dev/sda2 in my case). That works - just having the root partition and pointing the GRUB installer at that fails. The comment that had me curious from the Ubuntu forums was where one guy commented that the installer had failed to create the /boot partition (I guess it does not create it as a directory in the root partition if you go down this path). The /boot partition only needs to be about 38 megs but I made it 200 megs (Ubuntu install using the whole disk had made it more like 580 megs). Anyway, that appears to be the solution (next brave step will be to try it in an extended partition), but for now, this solves the issue for anybody else looking for an answer to the GRUB install problem.

Might be worth adding this information to the KB article #279 in some format or another.

mikey
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Re: BootitBM, Ubuntu 14.04 Server, VMWorkstation install pro

Postby TeraByte Support(PP) » Sat Mar 12, 2016 10:41 pm

What version of 14.04 are you installing? A test with 14.04.4 installed normally in a setup similar to yours (GRUB installed correctly to the root partition).
Paul Purviance
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Re: BootitBM, Ubuntu 14.04 Server, VMWorkstation install pro

Postby gpsmikey » Sat Mar 12, 2016 11:55 pm

14.04 LTS - went through it many times (probably about 8 or so) everything seemed to go just fine up until time to install GRUB. I select "No" to install to the MBR then give it /dev/sda2 (which was the root partition) and the grub install fails. Once that happens it gets in some sort of strange condition where you can't do much with it (back works, but when you select something, it immediately fails). The ISO image was downloaded from the Ubuntu downloads site and works fine if I give it a root and boot partition. Just tried it this evening (twice) with /, /boot and swap being partitions in an extended (logical) partition. Worked fine also. The name of the downloaded image I was using was "ubuntu-14.04.4-server-amd64.iso"

Just seemed very strange that following the same steps each time consistently failed if there was no boot partition created, but worked every time when I added a boot partition. I would have thought the installer would have simply put /boot in the root partition if there was no separate /boot partition.

mikey
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Re: BootitBM, Ubuntu 14.04 Server, VMWorkstation install pro

Postby gpsmikey » Thu Mar 24, 2016 9:25 pm

Just as a test, I decided to try it with the 15.10 version of the Ubuntu Server (ubuntu-15.10-server-amd64.iso) following the same instructions. Installed BootitBM first, then used that to partition the "disk" into 2 additional (in addition to the BootitBM partition created) partitions 2 GB SWAP and 18GB as a root EXT4 partition. Went all the way through the install (including setting it to a static IP). When I got to the disk partition in the setup, it did see the partitions I had created and I told it to use the 2gb partition as Linux swap and the following 18gb partition as the root EXT4 partition. Install continued, let it install LAMP etc. Made it to where it wants to install GRUB in the MBR since it does not see any other OS on the disk. I select NO and it gives me the option of where to install it. When I tell it /dev/sda2, the install fails with a fatal error trying to install GRUB. Any ideas? I followed the KB article and the Ubuntu partitioning part of setup sees the partitions I created and has the root partition flagged as bootable.
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Re: BootitBM, Ubuntu 14.04 Server, VMWorkstation install pro

Postby TeraByte Support(PP) » Thu Mar 24, 2016 11:18 pm

Since you have to type in the partition path, are you absolutely sure you're using the correct one? From what you've written it looks like sometimes the swap partition is before the root partition and sometimes the after. In your last post you said you used /dev/sda2, but you also said you used the 2GB partition as Linux swap and the "following" 18GB partition as root (/dev/sda3 ?).

I get an error if I try to install GRUB to the swap partition, but I can try again on the correct partition and it works normally.
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Re: BootitBM, Ubuntu 14.04 Server, VMWorkstation install pro

Postby gpsmikey » Fri Mar 25, 2016 3:48 pm

Oh sigh. PEBCAK (Problem Exists Between Chair And Keyboard). In Bootit BM, the partitions are 0,1 and 2 while in the Ubuntu partitioning scheme, they are 1,2 and 3. You were correct, I was trying to stuff GRUB into the SWAP partition. Thought I had it right, but obviously not since not only did 15.10 now install just fine, but 14.04.4 (the one I was fighting with) did a clean install as well with the three partitions as BootitBM, SWAP and Root. Thanks for finding the error of my ways !!

mikey
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Re: BootitBM, Ubuntu 14.04 Server, VMWorkstation install pro

Postby TeraByte Support(PP) » Fri Mar 25, 2016 4:03 pm

They don't make it easy with that installer. I had to switch consoles and run 'df' to make sure a couple times.
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Re: BootitBM, Ubuntu 14.04 Server, VMWorkstation install pro

Postby gpsmikey » Sat Mar 26, 2016 11:01 am

They don't make it easy when you are not paying attention to what you are seeing. Clearly it was "operator error" in this case. I thought I had watched carefully as to which partition was labeled which, but obviously, I overlooked what was going on there since it worked fine when I changed the partition to put GRUB in. Oh well, hopefully, this will serve to help others not make the same mistake :-)

mikey
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